New Manchester innovation centre to support development of smart city technology

Cisco and Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) have announced plans to open an innovation centre focused on smart cities, the Internet of Things (IoT), digital healthcare and the digital creative sector.

Based on MSP’s central campus, the Mi-IDEA (Manchester Inspired — Innovation Digital Enterprise Alliance) innovation centre will work with early-stage companies in the North of England to accelerate the development of innovative technologies and solutions.

It will also support post-accelerator and established technology firms to help develop confidence and capabilities as they grow.

For Cisco, Mi-IDEA will function as a second site in the UK for Cisco CREATE, a collaborative research function that works with industry partners, start-ups, government, research institutions and universities and aims to find innovative, technology-based solutions to real-world challenges.

Additionally, the facility will strengthen the North’s representation in Cisco’s National Virtual Incubator (NVI), a UK-wide network of incubation centres, research facilities, science parks and academic institutes.

Cisco expects the Manchester innovation centre to become a “digital living lab”, showcasing the latest Cisco technology alongside the innovations of the companies in residence.

The IT company has previously established another innovation centre in the UK, IDEALondon. Since its launch in 2013, start-ups based at IDEALondon have raised more than £20m in funding and created more than 120 jobs, Cisco said.

Phil Smith, chief executive of Cisco UK & Ireland, commented: “The city of Manchester has innovation in its DNA. Our investment in the city builds on our ongoing commitment to support new digital businesses and high-tech entrepreneurs across the UK. Mi-IDEA will be uniquely positioned to tap into local, national and international innovation ecosystems.

“It will benefit from MSP’s existing partnerships across the region and be a key part of the NVI. Coupled with Cisco’s successes at IDEALondon and Cisco CREATE, we’re confident that Mi-IDEA will deliver a unique environment in which tech companies in Manchester can grow.”

The new innovation centre is set to start operating in early 2017.

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